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Archaeologists unearth 2000-year-old children’s shoe

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Investigations of the Georgenberg Mine in Dürrnberg near Salzburg have led to the discovery of a well-preserved 2000-year-old children’s shoe.

The German Mining Museum Bochum and the Leibniz Research Museum for Georesources have been conducting archaeological research in the area since 2001.

Dürrnberg has been mined over thousands of years for the large deposits of rock salt, with previous studies in the region uncovering artefacts and evidence of tribal settlements from the Early Iron Age.

Recent excavations in the Georgenberg Mine have uncovered a 2,000-year-old children’s shoe. The shoe has been preserved due to the high salt levels in the mine which prevents the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms. “The condition of the shoe found is outstanding,” said research department head Prof. Dr. Thomas Stoellner.

The shoe is made of leather and has surviving remnants of a lacing made using flax or linen. Based on the typology of the shoe design, it was probably made during the 2nd century BC.

Leather shoes have been previously found in Dürrnberg, however, the child’s shoe indicates that children were present underground during mining activities thousands of years ago. Excavations also found a fragment of a wooden shovel and the remains of fur with a lacing, which according to the researchers probably belonged to a fur hood.

The study of Iron Age salt mining at Dürrnberg is part of a long-term research project funded by Salinen Austria AG and Salinen Tourismus, and is carried out in collaboration with the Institute for Archaeological Sciences at the Ruhr University Bochum.

“Organic materials generally decompose over time. Finds like this child’s shoe, but also textile remains or excrement like those found on Dürrnberg, offer an extremely rare insight into the life of Iron Age miners,” said Dr Stoellner.

German Mining Museum Bochum

Header Image Credit : German Mining Museum Bochum

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Excavation of medieval shipbuilders reveals a Roman head of Mercury

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Excavations of a medieval shipbuilders has led to the discovery of a Roman settlement and a Roman head of Mercury.

The discovery was made at Smallhythe Place, a late 15th or early 16th century property managed by the National Trust near Tenterden in Kent, England.

Prior to the decline of the port and shipyard at Smallhythe during the 16th century, the local community played a crucial role in the shipbuilding industry, crafting vessels for notable figures, including members of royalty.

As part of a project funded by several UK institutions, over 60 volunteers from the National Trust participated in the excavation, along with professional archaeologists, students, and members of the Hastings Area Archaeological Research Group.

The excavation has revealed traces of a Roman settlement that was occupied between the 1st and 3rd centuries, including an incredibly rare figurine made of pipeclay that depicts the god, Mercury.

Mercury was a major god in the Roman pantheon and was associated with financial gain, commerce, eloquence, messages, communication (including divination), travellers, boundaries, luck, trickery, and thieves. He also served as the guide of souls to the underworld and was the messenger of the gods.

According to a press announcement by the National Trust: “This complete figurine probably would have depicted Mercury standing, either draped with a chlamys (a short cloak), or naked, holding a caduceus (a staff with two intertwined snakes).”

The team also unearthed thousands of artefacts, providing evidence of the evolution of Smallhythe Place from a Georgian farm to a midden dump, a shipbuilding site, and a brickworks.

The National Trust said: “To support our investigations, we received grants from the National Trust’s Inclusive Archaeology, Robert Kiln and the Roman Research Funds and from the Royal Archaeological Institute. During 2023, our project has received funding from the Society of Antiquaries and the William and Edith Oldham Charitable Trust.”

Header Image Credit : James Dobson

Sources : National Trust – Exploring Smallhythe Place: Archaeological Investigations by the River Rother

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Researchers find that Żagań-Lutnia5 is an Iron Age stronghold

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Archaeologists have conducted a ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey of Żagań-Lutnia5, revealing that the monument is an Iron Age stronghold.

Żagań-Lutnia5 was first discovered in the 1960s near the town of Żagań in western Poland, with previous studies suggesting that the monument could be associated with the Białowieża group of the Lusatian urnfield culture.

The Lusatian culture existed in the later Bronze Age and early Iron Age (1300–500 BC) in most of what is now Poland. It formed part of the Urnfield systems found from eastern France, southern Germany and Austria to Hungary, and the Nordic Bronze Age in northwestern Germany and Scandinavia.

A recent study led by Dr. Arkadiusz Michalak on behalf of the Archaeological Museum of the Middle Oder River has revealed two parallel sequences of magnetic anomalies at Żagań-Lutnia5 that represent the remnants of earthen and wooden fortifications.

The course of the fortifications were recorded in the northern, western and southern parts of the study area, however, a study of the eastern section was limited due to a sewage collector built in the 1990’s.

Exploratory excavations found four cultural layers with remains of huts and hearths, in addition to a burnt layer from the last phase of occupation that suggests a period of conflict.

According to the researchers, the monument was likely built by the same people who constructed the stronghold in Wicin and a number of verified defensive settlements within the area of the Elbe, Nysa Łużycka and Odra.

As a result of the study, Żagań-Lutnia5 has been added to the catalogue of verified Early Iron Age strongholds located in today’s Lubusz Voivodeship.

Header Image Credit : Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments

Sources : Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments – Archaeological research at the site of Żagań-Lutnia5

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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